The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th February to 26th February, 1946

Sixty-Third Day: Wednesday, 20th February, 1946
(Part 7 of 8)

[L. R. SHENIN continues]

[Page 163]

I shall now quote excerpts from the report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the crimes committed by the German invaders in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. (For the information of the interpreters: this quotation is on Page 68, second paragraph):-
"The Germans plundered the depots of tractors and agricultural machinery throughout Latvia and, according to figures which are far from complete, they sent to Germany 700 tractors, 180 motor vehicles, 4,057 ploughs, 2,815 cultivators, 3,532 harrows ..." and so forth.
Second quotation:-
"In consequence of the despoliation of Latvian agriculture by the German invaders, the livestock in Latvia was decreased by 443,700 head of cattle, 318,200 pigs and 593,800 sheep."
Further, I shall read a short excerpt from the report of the Extraordinary State Commission on the crimes committed in the Esthonian S.S.R.:-
"The German invaders plundered the rural population of Esthonia without restraint. This plunder took the form of forcing the peasants to hand over various kinds of farm produce.

The quantities of farm produce to be delivered as ordered by the Germans were very high."

I omit part of the quotation and I read the second paragraph to the next page:-
"The Germans confiscated and drove away to Germany 107,000 horses, 31,000 cows, 214,000 pigs, 790,000 head of poultry. They plundered about 50,000 beehives."
I omit one more excerpt and I read the last quotation from this report:-
"The Hitlerites took away 1,000 threshing machines, 500 threshing machine motors, 700 motors for driving belts, 350 tractors and 24,781 other agricultural machines which were the personal property of individual peasants."
Your Honours, a similar policy of plundering private, public and national property was also carried out by the German fascist invaders in the occupied territories of Bielorussia, Moldavia, the Karelo-Finnish S.S.R. and the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.

Various military units and organisations, in different districts of the USSR employed the same methods of plunder at all stages of the war in accordance with the same criminal plan and in pursuit of the same criminal aims. This plan was worked out, these aims were determined, these crimes were organised by the major war criminals who are now in the dock.

The USSR prosecution has at its disposal tens of thousands of documents on this subject. The presentation of all these numerous documents to the Tribunal would require such a long time that it would only complicate the trial.

[Page 164]

For this reason, with the Tribunal's permission, I will not quote any further documents or reports of the Extraordinary State Commission on separate regions and republics, but I shall read into the record the statistical report of the Extraordinary State Commission relative to the "material damage done by the German fascists to State enterprises and establishments, collective farms, public organisations and individual citizens of the USSR".

This document is being presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 35.

I shall read into the record only those extracts from the report which have a direct bearing on the subject of my presentation. They are stated as follows (Page 71 of the statement):-

"The German fascist aggressors looted 98,000 collective farms, 1,876 State farms and 2,890 machine and tractor stations. Seven million horses, 17 million head of cattle, 20 million pigs were slaughtered and shipped to Germany, as well as 27 million sheep and goats, and 110 million head of poultry."
The Extraordinary State Commission calculates the damage done to the national economy of the Soviet Union and to individual villagers and townspeople at 679 milliard [sic] roubles reckoned at the official prices current in 1941.

The figures are made up as follows

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Milliard Roubles

1. State concerns and institutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
2. Collective farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181
3. Villagers and townspeople . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
4. Co-operatives, trade union, and other public organisations . .19"
I omit the following sections of this report, which describe how this damage is divided among separate Soviet Republics, and I pass on to the fourth paragraph, which describes the destruction of collective farms, State farms, and machine tractor stations. In order to save time, I shall confine myself to a few excerpts:-
"Whilst burning the villages and hamlets, the German fascists plundered completely their inhabitants. Those of the peasants who offered resistance were brutally murdered".
Further, some concrete data are given on the plundering in the Kernenetz-Podolsk Kursk regions, of the collective farm "For Peace and Work", in the region of Krasnodar, the collective farms "Zatempa" in the Stalino region, as well as collective farms in Mogilev and Zhitomir districts and others. The German fascist invaders inflicted great damage on the State farms of the USSR. They removed out of collective farms all stocks of agricultural products and destroyed farm and other buildings belonging to the State farms.

Another excerpt:-

"No. 62 horse farm in the Poltava district lost its stock of Russo-American trotting brood mares through the German occupation. Up to the war, this stud farm had 670 brood mares. The Germans acted in the same way in regard to other breeding farms".
I omit the remaining excerpt of this section, and I pass on to paragraph 6, which deals with the mass looting of Soviet citizens' property by the Germans-:
"In all the republics of the Soviet Union which were occupied, the fascist German invaders looted the property of the rural and urban population stealing valuables, property, clothing and household articles and imposing fines, taxes and contributions on the peaceful population".

[Page 165]

The same section contains a whole series of concrete facts of the plunder of Soviet citizens in the Smolensk, Orel and Leningrad Provinces; the Dniepropetrovsk and Sumsky Provinces, etc. With the Tribunal's permission, I omit two pages of my presentation and I read the following paragraph at the bottom of Page 76.
"The plundering of the Soviet population was being carried out by the German aggressors throughout the whole of the occupied Soviet territory. The Extraordinary State Commission has undertaken the task of estimating the damage done to the Soviet citizens by the occupation authorities, and has established that the German fascist invaders burned down and destroyed approximately 4,000,000 dwelling houses which were the personal property of collective farmers, workers and employees, confiscated one-and-a-half million horses, nine million head of cattle, twelve million pigs, thirteen million sheep and goats, and took away an enormous quantity of household goods and chattels of all kinds."
The above documents and reports of the Extraordinary State Commission depict the crimes committed by the Hitlerites in the occupied territories of the USSR. These crimes had been organised by the defendants.

The fact that Goering, in his capacity as Reich Marshal and Trustee for the Four Year Plan of the Hitlerite Government, was directly in charge of all the operations of the German military and civil authorities for the preparation and execution of despoliation of the occupied territories, is clearly shown by the documents which I have already presented. Nevertheless, I beg the indulgence of the Tribunal to read the final document on this matter, that is, the decree issued by Hitler on 29th June, 1941.

A copy of this decree was kindly put at our disposal by the American Prosecution, and it has not yet been presented. I, therefore, present it to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 287. This decree reads as follows:

"Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, as Trustee for the Four Year Plan, will employ, within the scope of the power granted him for the purpose, all means necessary for exploiting to the fullest extent supplies and economic resources found in the newly-occupied Eastern territories and for developing all their economic possibilities for the benefit of the German war economy.

For this purpose he is also empowered to give direct orders to military authorities in the newly occupied Eastern territories." The third paragraph states that 'the decree will become effective as from to-day. It must first be made public by special order'."

However, your Honours, the granting of extraordinary powers to Goring does not in any way mean that the other defendants took only a passive interest in organising the looting of the occupied territories. All of them, jointly and individually, worked feverishly in this direction. Frank robbed the Poles; Rosenberg managed affairs in the Ukraine and in the other occupied territories of the USSR; Sauckel and Seyss-Inquart were busy here and there; Speer and Funk made schemes for and carried out predatory measures within the sphere of the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Armament, whilst Keitel acted in the field of the Armed Forces.

In this connection I should like to submit to the Tribunal two more documents relating to "Keitel's economic activities". These documents, your Honours, are presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 175. On 29 August, 1942, Keitel, in his capacity as Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, issued the following order under No. 002865/42- cc "regarding securing of supplies for the

[Page 166]

Armed Forces". I shall read only two short excerpts from this order. Your Honours will find them on Page 181 of the document book.
"The food situation of the German people is such that it is necessary for the Armed Forces to contribute as far as possible towards alleviating ft. All the necessary means of doing so exist in the combat zones and in the occupied territories both in the East and in the West. It is essential, above all, that much greater quantities of supplies and forage should be secured in the occupied territories of the East than has been the case up to now."
The second excerpt:-
"All establishments should consider it their pride as well as their duty to attain this goal at all costs so that in this field, too, they may play a decisive part in achieving victory."
In a memorandum by Section Chiefs (Referenten) Klare and Dr. Bergmann, dated 19 November, 1942, "Most Secret. Subject: Securing of Supplies for the Armed Forces." (I submit this memorandum in the original to the Tribunal under the same number, USSR 175), we find the following estimate of the results of the above-mentioned order from Keitel. I now read into the record only the first paragraph of this memorandum. You will find, your Honours, the document on Page 186:-
"By order of the Fuehrer, the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces has decreed in the attached order Of 29 August, 1942, that the Armed Forces must, as far as possible, contribute towards the task of ensuring food supplies for the German people, and that they must themselves make every effort, not only to obtain sufficient food supplies locally to cover the needs of the armies, but also to ensure that the quantities required by the Reich are secured in addition.

As the result of this order co-operation between the army and the economic authorities has fortunately become closer".

Now, with your Honour's permission, I will read into the record one more document, namely, a telegram sent by Keitel on 8 September, 1944. This document was kindly put at our disposal by the American Prosecution and registered as Document 743-PS, It was not presented to the Tribunal before, I therefore submit it now as Exhibit USSR 286, and I quote:-
"1. To General Staff of the Army (attention Chief of Supply and Administration), Office of Chief of Staff.

2. To General Staff of the Army (attention Chief of Supply and Administration), Army Administration Office.

3. To General, Commanding Army Group North.

4. To General, Commanding Army Group Centre.

5. To Economic Staff 'East.'

6. To Military District H.Q. I."

The text is as follows
"1. The Fuehrer has entrusted Gauleiter Koch with the utilisation of local resources in the parts of Reichskommissariat 'Ostland' occupied by troops of Army Group Centre. Furthermore, the Fuehrer has ordered that all German and local administrative authorities be subordinate to Gauleiter Koch. In confiscating economic resources, Gauleiter Koch is to maintain contact with competent Supreme Reich Agencies.

2. All authorities of the Armed Forces will give Gauleiter Koch every assistance in their power in executing this order."

Thus, your Honours, even at the end of 1944, when under the blows of the Red Army and its Allies Hitlerite Germany was precipitated towards its final

[Page 167]

defeat and only a few months before its final military and political collapse, Hitler, Keitel, Koch, and many others were still stretching out their already stiffening fingers to grab the property and wealth of others.

This is the evidence I have to show regarding the looting and marauding perpetrated by the Hitlerite hordes in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

But they plundered not only the living, they also plundered the dead. My colleague, Colonel Smirnov, has already presented comprehensive evidence on this question. I do not wish to quote it again, but I refer to it only to show how closely interlocked and all-embracing was the circle of their crimes.

As Rauschning testifies in his book which has already been presented by the Soviet Prosecution to the Tribunal, Hitler once said:

"I need people with strong fists whose principles will not prevent them from taking human life if necessary; and if on occasion they swipe a watch or a jewel, I don't care a tinker's damn."
Hitler actually found these men in the persons of the defendants and their numerous accomplices.

As the documents which I have just presented show, the defendant Goering, on account of his position in Hitler's government as Reich Marshal and Trustee for the Four Year Plan, and as head of the whole criminal system for the plundering of the occupied territories, was guilty of these crimes.

For this reason the stenographic record of a secret conference of German administrative leaders (Reichskommissars) for the occupied countries which took place on 6 August, 1942, is of particular interest. Goering presided over the meeting. This document, like many other original documents which I had the honour of presenting to- day to the Tribunal, was found by Soviet Military authorities in September, 1945, in one of the municipal buildings of the town of Jena, in Thuringia.

This extraordinary document contains a long speech by Goering and the replies of the Hitlerite rulers of the occupied countries, and, your Honours, many of the people who are now sitting in the dock took part in this conference. The contents of this document are such that any comment on my part is unnecessary. Therefore, if it please the Tribunal, I shall proceed to read from it :

"Stenographic notes; Thursday, 6th August, 1942, 4 P.M., in the Hermann Goering Hall in the Air Ministry.

Reich Marshal Goering: The Gauleiters stated their views here yesterday. Although they may have differed in tone and manner, it was evident that they all feel that the German people have too little to eat. Gentlemen, the Fuehrer has given me general powers exceeding any hitherto granted within the Four Year Plan."

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